Chuck Fletcher is certainly putting his mark on the Flyers' defense.
A day after trading Radko Gudas for defenseman Matt Niskanen, the Flyers' general manager placed Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of terminating his contract.
MacDonald is expected to go unclaimed and the Flyers will buy out his contract. In 2019-20, the 32-year-old MacDonald was entering the final year of a six-year, $30 million deal. His cap hit was a hefty $5 million. MacDonald was signed to the deal in April 2014 by then-general manager Paul Holmgren.
Per spotrac.com, the move will result in a total buyout of $3,833,333 with a base salary of $1,916,667 over each of the next two years.
The Flyers are taking on significant money with Niskanen (as well as reportedly retaining some of Gudas' cap hit) and are in the process of negotiating with soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Kevin Hayes, so Fletcher said the MacDonald move was about maximizing the team's cap flexibility. Fletcher, who spoke Saturday via a conference call, obviously feels there is more work to do this summer, outside of Niskanen and Hayes.
It was a difficult decision and it was solely cap related. I've had a couple of good conversations with Andrew — one at the end of the season and another one again today. This guy is a consummate professional. We asked a lot of Andrew and by that I mean he was a player that played the left side, played the right side, he'd be a healthy scratch and then we'd put him back in the lineup. We asked him to play with young players and mentor them and bring stability to our back end.
He's just a quality person and a guy that played a very effective two-way game for our team, but we are in a cap world and we made that tough decision today to try reallocate some of those dollars to maximize our chance to stay in the hunt on some players over the next couple of weeks.
MacDonald was banged up this past season and became a healthy scratch, as well. He played just 47 contests and saw 16:24 ice time per game, the lowest of his career.
He was often the butt of criticism among the fan base — in large part because of the contract — but inside the Flyers' locker room, he was a true professional and one of the most respected players by his teammates.
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